Monetizing your group audience is a source of anxiety for the best of us…
With a serious absence of immediately obvious ways to monetize your group, you’re going to have to get a little creative and think about funneling your group members to external sites to make a purchase.
Here are some of the best ways you can do just that.
One of the easiest things you can do is sell services such as consulting.
Depending on what your group is about you might be able to create other skill-based services as well.
These are often called productized services.
Good examples include selling content, website setups, logos, etc.
This might not seem like an immediately obvious choice.
However, if your group is on the larger side, and you deal with specific topics a podcast could be a great choice.
One of the easiest ways to monetize a podcast is sponsorships, but remember you might need to do this for a while before anyone is willing to spend their advertising dollars with you.
Starting a blog.
Another way to make money is by starting a blog.
Just like you might decide to funnel group members to a podcast, it could be a good idea to funnel them to a blog.
On your blog, you can then monetize with display ads and affiliate links.
In reality that’s just the tip of the iceberg with ways to monetize a blog/website. But those are the easiest ones you can get going with right away.
This is probably one of the less used options I see.
But if your group is fiercely loyal, passionate or both then it can definitely be a good idea to sell some merchandise.
Having some apparel on deck is never a bad idea even if it doesn’t sell well as you can send this to top members as a special thanks or even use it for giveaways.
While merchandise and productized services have already been covered, I wanted to talk about this as its own subject briefly…
Products should be the end goal for a lot of groups in terms of monetization.
Running a group about becoming better organized? Consider selling a few branded planners…
You could then sell this product on a Shopify website, Etsy or even via a more simplistic method like Gumroad.
The difficulty isn’t in how to sell it, but rather coming up with a good product in the first place.
Infoproducts are probably one of the most popular choices for monetizing your group audience.
Selling either ebooks or courses is the end-goal of a lot of group owners I’ve spoken with.
One thing people don’t always think about is how to best do that.
You see the thing is that you’ll probably be competing with already established authors, course providers, etc.
They’ve had time to perfect their offering and it’s going to be hard to compete.
So you can get started in a smaller way.
Just cover one topic, but better than anyone else has.
You can think of it as further “niching” down your infoproduct.
If you have a group that either aligns with a brand’s values or their target audience then it is actually surprisingly easy to sell sponsorships if you have the numbers.
Reach out to brands in your industry that you think might be interested in sponsoring your group.
In my experience selling monthly placements where you place the brand in your group banner is quite popular.
This one is being successfully used by groups that provide free information about *subject*.
These kinds of groups provide a lot of value and it takes a lot of time.
To allow the group owners to help people on a more personal and individual level, it’s becoming common to see a premium group offered.
Usually, some kind of monthly subscription is paid via PayPal or similar.
In exchange, your new members get access to the premium group.
For groups that decide to stay completely free, it can be a good idea to accept contributions instead.
It’s not common, but it’s a great idea if you know how to incentivize your group to support you properly.
If you expect people to financially support your group based on the incentive of it being the right thing to do then you’ll probably be disappointed.
You need to give them some extra reason to support you, luckily you can do that with Patreon which is why I recommend it.
I’ve left the mailing list until last because it’s the most important.
You probably hear this a lot…
“Always be building your list.”
And it is true.
But it’s especially true when it comes to groups.
You need to secure your audience on at least one other platform and so the mailing list is an easy and painless way to do that.
MailChimp is free up to 2,000 users and so this is usually where most of us start.
You can then use your mailing list to promote affiliate products, sell directly to your group, as well as funnel them to other places that you might be selling in…
This gives you a lot of flexibility and opportunities to monetize your group based on how they’ve interacted with your emails in the past e.g. what they read, what they clicked (yes you can do all of that with MailChimp).